According to environmental journalist Simran Sethi , the buried foundations of food and future-food are slowly disappearing. Of course, she’s talking about seeds: the memory of life and the wellspring of both food security and seed sovereignty.
In a recent Tedx Talk from February 2013, Stethi leads her audience exploration of agricultural biodiversity, seed monocultures and consolidation, and the small-scale farmers who continue to grow much of the world’s food.
“They [seeds] hold the potential of everything,” says Sethi, “they’re the beginning and end and the beginning all over again. Seeds are the building blocks of everything we eat.”
She explains that seeds bring forth grains, fruits and vegetables, that we in turn enjoy as is or turn into beer, bread, fodder for livestock.
“The story of seeds is embedded in the story of us,” Sethi continues. We rely on seeds−and they’re disappearing. “Every time a variety isn’t saved and drops out of cultivation, a set of genes disappears…. Over time, foods have gone extinct.”
Sethi poignantly covers the risks of the present shifting seed system: from the hands of the many to the hands of the few with the consolidation of seed resources, as well as the loss of genetic diversity playing out in the vulnerability of monocultures facing real time climate crises.
In this system of corporate control and seed monopolies, seeds have become “non-renewable resources.”
“How do we nourish the seeds we want to grow?” Sethi looks to “peasant-bred” seeds sustained by farmers and offers the hope that we can reclaim our collective genetic heritage by supporting people and institutions dedicated to seeds.